Diane’s journey to advocacy

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Stories

By Claire Guisfredi, CASA of Kent County Board of Directors

My neighbor Diane is a card shark. I’m at times a little fearful to be her partner – she seems to know what’s in my hand and calls me out when I lead the wrong suit. Diane also volunteers at the North Kent Connect food pantry, where I am an employee. She is not afraid to suggest ideas for improving processes or making it a better experience for our clients.

So when Stephanie Sheler, executive director of CASA, asked myself and my fellow board members to invite people to the volunteer recruitment mixer at the Mitten Brewery, the first person I thought of was Diane.

Diane retired a few years ago as a pharmacist. From past conversations with her, I knew she had some available time – she hasn’t packed her schedule to the max like so many retirees. Most importantly, I know Diane has a heart for children. I could picture her as a bulldog advocate for a child, making a strong case to the judge.

Diane enthusiastically agreed to attend the mixer and asked good questions of current CASA volunteers. She’s detail-oriented and doesn’t miss much. She took home the materials and reviewed them thoroughly. I invited Diane and other neighbors to the Heart of CASA event a month later where they heard testimonials about the transformative work of a CASA. The event further convinced Diane of the importance of CASA’s mission.

Diane had told me that she doesn’t know if she has what it takes to be a good CASA, but she registered for the November training class to learn more. Even throughout her training, Diane wasn’t exactly sure she could be an effective CASA. Knowing there are children on a waiting list who really need someone to go to bat for them, she decided to give it a try.

Diane was recently sworn in as a CASA and is preparing to take her first case. Diane may be unsure, but I can say with utmost confidence that any child will be really lucky to have Diane advocating for them. I play cards with her. I know.

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